A good 2,000 pounds of ivory were crushed in Times Square on Friday to send a message. The statues were smashed to demonstrate the United States’ intolerance for wildlife poaching.
The event was specifically aimed at illegal elephant poaching and the ivory trade. A number of statues and trinkets were loaded on a conveyor belt and sent into a rock crusher, and the resulting powder was hauled away in a trough.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with state officials and various advocacy groups in efforts to spread the message that threatened or endangered wildlife is not for sale. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, one of many authorities involved in the protest, had a clear message of her own.
“Today’s ivory crush serves as a stark reminder to the rest of the world that the United States will not tolerate wildlife crimes, especially against iconic and endangered animals. The message is loud and clear: This Administration will stop the poachers in their tracks, stop the profits and work with our international partners to protect our global natural heritage.”
The 2,000 pounds of ivory crushed reflects the nation’s disapproval with over 100,000 elephants being slaughtered for their tusks between 2009 and 2012. According to protesters, the pachyderms are being killed faster than they can reproduce.
— NRDC (@NRDC) June 19, 2015
Wildlife Conservation Society executive vice president John Calvelli also revealed his hopes to end the killing of threatened or endangered wildlife.
“Crushing ivory in Times Square – literally at the crossroads of the world – says in the clearest of terms that the U.S. is serious about closing its illegal ivory markets and stopping the demand. We applaud the Fish and Wildlife Service and DEC for their efforts to close this deadly trade that is currently decimating Africa’s elephants at the rate of 96 each day.”
Much of the material used in the 2,000 pounds of ivory crushed came from the seizure of a store in Philadelphia owned by Victor Gordon. Gordon was jailed for 30 months in 2014 for illegally smuggling ivory into the United States, according to E! Online.
Natural Resources Defense Council executive director Peter Lehner further explained the importance of the ivory crush.
“Many Americans don’t realize that the U.S. ivory market is one of the largest in the world. Or that its epicenter, until recently, was right here in New York City. Today’s ivory crush, together with tough state and federal laws cracking down on the illegal ivory trade, send a strong signal that the United States wants no part in this trade that is so devastating to wildlife.”
Do you think the 2,000 pounds of ivory crushed will be enough to make ivory traders and poachers think twice about continuing?
[Image via World Wildlife]